Miguel and Idalia lead the Ballet Folklorico de Bomba y Plena Lanzo in Orlando, a dance group performing traditional Puerto Rican bomba and plena dance and music. Miguel and Idalia both learned these traditions during their youth in Puerto Rico. Idalia recalls Saturday evenings in her home town when people would gather to dance-which made her want to dance too.
The couple initially opened a studio in Boston in 1972 and subsequently opened one in Orlando after moving there in the 1990s. Through their dance and music Idalia and Miguel hope to preserve the Puerto Rican culture for future generations.
Three generations of Lanzos now participate in playing Puerto Rican music: grandparents, Miguel and Igdalia; daughter, Daisy; and grandson. Press play to hear Daisy talk about passing on the tradition to her children.
Idalia says that in order to dance the bomba or plena the dancers have to first hear the music and then go with the feeling of the music. It is the rhythm of the music that is significant, and so dancing involves moving the hips, shoulders and legs to the rhythm.
Female dancers wear nineteenth-century-style white dresses with ribbons on the underside that flair out following the movement of the dancers. The men typically wear a sombrero and also dress in white because the color signifies light. Ballet Folklorico de Bomba y Plena Lanzo also performs vijegante dances associated with religious festivals in Puerto Rico around Carnival in which the vijegante dancer dons a colorful papier mache mask and matching suit (see the dancer in the far right rear).
Learn more about Latin-American and Spanish traditions in Central Florida: